Trump Cites ‘Whitey Tape’ Conspiracy Theorist On U.K. Spying
President Donald Trump sent a tweet Wednesday morning in which he cited a former CIA analyst named Larry Johnson, in support of Johnson’s belief that “United Kingdom Intelligence [helped the] Obama Administration Spy on the 2016 Trump Presidential Campaign.” In the tweet, Trump cited OANN, the conservative One America News Network.
There are a few things notable about the tweet. For one thing, Trump appears to be getting his cable news from a network different from his previously documented favorite Fox News. On the other hand, the president did express some dissatisfaction with his Fox friends earlier this month after they hosted a town hall with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, according to The Independent.
OANN, back in March, had even sent a tweet complaining that the president had omitted their network from the list of media supporters that he listed at a rally, per The Washington Examiner, although that tweet has since been deleted.
Then there’s Larry Johnson, who is best known for spreading a hoax during the 2008 presidential campaign that a tape existed of future First Lady Michelle Obama using the phrase “whitey” in a pejorative manner while appearing on a panel at Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ, per New York Magazine.
The U.K. spying claim is not new, as Johnson has been asserting it since 2017. He was one of the sources for a report that year by Fox News legal commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about the U.K. helping to spy on the Trump campaign. According to the aforementioned New York Magazine article, the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) called those claims “nonsense” and “utterly ridiculous.” Shepard Smith, another Fox anchor, said on the air that there was no evidence for the report, and Napolitano was even suspended from appearing on the network for a time, according to the Los Angeles Times.
— Bob Young (@ryoung2332) April 24, 2019
Trump has been claiming since the early days of his presidency that the Obama administration had spied on his campaign in 2016, stating in a 2017 tweet that the former president had “tapped my wires” at Trump Tower during the campaign.
No evidence has ever emerged that the claim was true, although the closest thing to evidence for such a claim is that the administration obtained FISA warrants for Carter Page, a low-level foreign policy aide in the Trump campaign, according to Vox. However, those warrants were filed both before Page joined the campaign and after he left it. The Washington Times noted that the Mueller report stated that it could not establish that Page participated in any coordination with the Russians in relation to 2016 election interference.